I started off as a “good” survivor (or at least with the intentions of being a good one).  I had physical limitations from surgeries and that stupid frozen shoulder.  (Quick re-cap…bilateral mastectomy January 2013, tissue expanders June 2013, implants October 2013…refusal to heal…implants removed December 2013, further healing issues and a frozen shoulder.  All of this put me somewhat out of commission for nearly 2 years.)  And of course I was (and still am) self-conscious about my appearance.  But I really wanted to be a good survivor and let this horrible experience make me a better, happier, calmer person.  I will never see cancer as a “gift”, nor have I ever thought of it as a “journey” (new travel agent, please), and I think that’s okay.  A friend told me she thought of me as a poster-child for the non-reconstructed chest, so I thought I’d try to run with that.  I think I was doing pretty well for a while, but lately I feel stuck.  I’m not as happy as I want to be, and I don’t know how to make that happen.  Several months ago, I told another friend that I realize I was given a second chance and I don’t want to waste it.  She thought that was so profound.  Now I just laugh at myself for saying it because I haven’t really fulfilled that desire to not waste this second chance.  I honestly don’t know exactly what I should be doing to not waste it (I’d thought about a career change, but I’m also sort of stuck in my job), so I thought I should let that carry through in my attitude.  Be that bright, positive energy in every room.  It’s really hard not to get bogged down in the bullshit of everyday life (at home and at work), and I forget to remind myself that I’m trying to be a better person.  I’m anxious and prone to anger. I get really angry.  And sometimes I feel depressed.  I worry about recurrence (my leg hurts – is that bone mets?  I’ve had a headache twice this week – is it in my brain?  I lost my balance – it is definitely in my brain.  You know the drill).  My husband very recently said it seems like I’ve hit a plateau.  I’ve been thinking about that since the moment he said it.  Normally, I might respond to a comment like this by pouting a little and passive-aggressively letting him know that he hurt my feelings (“can’t you see I’m doing the best I know how?”), but this time, I’m actually pondering it and realizing that it’s time to figure out how to climb a little higher.


2 thoughts on “Plateau

  1. Your post gave me chills, because just yesterday, I thought of the same exact things! The weird thing is that my leg and head hurt and I allowed my “creativity” to kick in, like you do with yours. And while I was on the train on my way home from work, I was wondering how come I don’t feel like I can be all “super woman” trying to accomplish “all dreams” after going through cancer. “Am I wasting this chance?”

    I think these thoughts are common among cancer patients. I also think that part of these feelings have to do with, once again, the expectations and labeling society has given to cancer. You know, things like, “get over it. You’re cured now.” These “expectations” also separate us and we feel alone, often wanting to feel accomplished. But what exactly are we trying to prove? To whom? Is it really to ourselves? I think partially, yes, but also because we feel judged if we don’t do otherwise.

    But we are all dancing together – us and the non-cancer people. We are all seeking for answers and trying to reach a level of happiness. So why do we feel so desperate? Because we feel we are running out of time? Denial is not our friend anymore. That’s why.

    I say we do the best we can. We take one day at a time and do what’s right for US, at the right time. Only we can determine when and how but always thinking of us first.

    It’s OK to feel down sometimes. We must allow ourselves to experience all the emotions life brings because that allows us to heal.

    You hang in there! (Sorry for the long comment.)


  2. Thank you for the comment. You’re right…these thoughts do seem to be a common thread. One day at a time is so important and something I have to remind myself informed by the past, look forward to the future, but live in the present.

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